• Mercedes Future Bus

Mercedes Future Bus (Photo : Twitter)

Mercedes-Benz has just tested its self-driving bus in road tests in the Netherlands. The German automaker tested its CityPilot autonomous bus tech on 20 kilometers (12 miles) of streets and highways near an Amsterdam airport. CityPilot installed on the smart bus is based on a version of Daimler's Highway Pilot autonomous truck technology but was tweaked for a city bus; it uses its GPS, two kinds of radar, and cameras to recognize objects such as traffic lights and walking pedestrians.

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Future Bus can automatically drop off and pick up passengers at bus stops. The semi-autonomous tech also allows the intelligent vehicle to drive through tunnels.

Mercedes' robot bus was tested in areas that included sharp turns and pedestrian crossings. The autonomous vehicle's (AV) top speed is 70 km/hr (43 mph), and it can move itself within inches of city bus stops and raised accessibility platforms.  

AV rules of the road still require a human to sit behind the steering wheel in case there is an emergency. However, the bus is linked to the city network so it can communicate with traffic signals and other structures.

The self-driving bus' camera can also scan the ground for potholes. That can help the smart bus to avoid rough areas during the next trip, or transmit that data to the city, according to Engadget.

Future Bus is based on Mercedes' Citaro bus. Its interior is inspired by city parks including designer benches, big windows, and grab rails and ceiling lights that emulate forest trees and tree branches. However, it also includes big display screens.

The Mercedes bus is not the first AV to shuttle people around the city. Nonetheless, it is the first one to get road tests on a public transit system, which could later result in driverless public busses operating around the world.  

In related news, Mercedes and Garia also recently introduced a high-tech golf cart, according to AL. Garia has become famous for its luxury golf carts.  

The little vehicle has a range of 50 miles (80 km) and a top speed of 19 mph (31 km/h).

Garia has plans to build only two of the high-end golf carts, but could build more if there is demand. It also has not set a price for the new luxury golf cart.

Here's the Mercedes Future Bus: